Last week, Recfishwest joined Aquafarms at Waroona Dam to release 20,000 one-year-old marron as part of an exciting stocking program backed by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF). Continue reading “Maxing up marron – 50,000 more stocked in South West dams!”
In this week’s edition of Scott’s Species, Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan takes an in-depth look at giant trevally (GT).
Fish: Giant trevally, Caranx ignobilis
Eating: 1 star
Identification: Steeply sloping head, long pectoral fin, sharp flutes on tail.
The biggest and most fearsome of the trevally clan, giant trevally have become a premier sportfish across the fishing world and WA is fortunate to offer some exceptional fishing for them.
GTs can be found from Kalbarri going north and can be targeted by both shore and boat anglers.
Their crashing strikes on surface lures and sheer power when hooked up have made them one of the most sought-after species on the globe and many anglers will pay big money to tangle with them.
There are areas in the north of the State where schools of small GTs are in almost plague proportions at times and they can be a lot of fun on light gear. However, it is the trophy fish anglers crave and these are often found around exposed reef ledges, coral bommies and along dropoffs.
Fish encountered in these areas will often be more than 20 kilos, and can be as big as 60kg.
Splashy surface lures, such as poppers or stickbaits, can be dynamite. The chase and strike of a big GT is not easily forgotten. I can recall feeling like a Volkswagen bonnet had opened up and inhaled my lure after hooking an unstoppable one in the Pilbara, with the fish having half its body out of water when its cavernous mouth enveloped my Halco Roosta.
I’ll also never forget my first GT hookup, when I casted a popper at some skittish bait in the Dampier Archipelago and watched what looked like a series of depth charges going off as a big fish mowed down my lure.
Some of the better, more reliable, locations to target them in WA include Quobba (for shore anglers), the islands off Carnarvon, Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth Gulf, around the many islands in the Pilbara including the Dampier Archipelago, the Montebello and Mackerel Islands.
Exmouth can also offer shore fishing opportunities for GTs, while many anglers do their own self-sufficient trips to the Montes just to target them.
They are also found right through the Kimberley. They are often taken unexpectedly by anglers using other types of lure or baits for different species, but surface lures are clearly the best way to target them and capitalise on their sporting qualities.
One of my most fun days of fishing was cruising the shallows of an island off Onslow, spotting packs of them cruising and then sight casting to them.
Gear for GTs needs to be very strong, and knots and terminal tackle need to be up to the task.
Line of at least 37kg in strength is recommended, and many anglers will use braid well upwards of 50kg.
Heavy casting leaders are also necessary, and offer protection against the line hitting a GT’s sharp tail flutes.
GTs handle well out of the water, generally staying fairly still, and are a very tough fish that releases well.
They are also a very vocal fish, grunting their disapproval very loudly while being handled.
And, they’re off! With today marking the start of autumn and the official start of this year’s anticipated Salmon Slam, anglers in the south of the State are preparing their rods, reels and lures for the annual salmon run.
In what could potentially be Australia’s biggest land-based fishing comp, thousands of salmon chasers are set to compete in the 2021 Salmon Slam and fish for the iconic southern sportfish.
Need the Salmon Slam 2021 code? It’s #SS2021!
With a top-prize of a dinghy, outboard motor and trailer worth $9,000 up for grabs, alongside many terrific weekly prizes, if you’re targeting salmon this autumn, why wouldn’t you enter the free, three-month salmon fishing comp?
Although the salmon run is yet to hit full swing, excitement has been steadily building among fishers ahead of the salmon migration.
Schools are beginning to build on the south coast, with Recfishwest State-wide Fishing Report writer and salmon fishing enthusiast Joachim Azzopardi reporting last Friday:
“Salmon have been passing at many of Esperance’s beaches with schools appearing at Salmon Beach, Fourth Beach, Roses, Alexander Bay, Thomas River and Poison Creek.
“Salmon have also been caught near Albany at Nanarup, Bluff Creek and Cheynes Beach.”
WATCH: Join Recfishwest on the run this Awesome Autumn of Salmon
Salmon Slam 2021 is part of the RFIF-funded Awesome Autumn of Salmon and is divided into seven phases and each phase has its own prize pool, in addition to an overall prize pool at the end of the competition.
The first phase, which runs from 1 March to 12 March, has many great prizes available including a $250 PENN Fishing tackle pack, sponsored by PENN, and a $50 Early Bird Bait voucher donated by Early Bird Bait in the open category.
Shimano have also donated a Shimano Saragosa 5000 reel and a Shimano Coltsniper 10ft rod!
In the adult category, anglers are vying for a $150 Halco Tackle pack sponsored by the Halco Tackle crew and another $50 Early Bird Bait voucher donated by Early Bird Bait.
For the youngsters under 16 years of age, a $150 tackle pack donated by Ben White and the team at Whitey’s Tackle and Camping in Treendale, near Australind, alongside a $100 voucher to Dunsborough Outdoor Sports Voucher donated by the fantastic South West store.
Western 4W Driver have donated the ultimate Western 4WD pack, valued at $160 and a $150 Richter Lures pack, sponsored by Richter Lures, can be claimed in the best photo section.
Casting for Salmon Slam success
Get out there and give it a go, simply take a picture of your catch and log it through the Salmon Slam app to be in the running for these great fishing prizes.
Due to a glitch with our e-newsletter monkeys, we are sorry we have been unable to send out our highly acclaimed fishing report exclusively to our members this week. So for one week only, we are posting this week’s report on our website. If you you’re not a Recfishwest member and enjoy this report, why not consider joining a cast of thousands and help us shape the future of fishing in WA by joining Recfishwest. More info on Recfishwest membership packages here.
Welcome to WA’s biggest and best weekly fishing report!
In this report you’ll read all about what’s biting across the State brought to you by keen fishers Joachim Azzopardi, Ash Ramm from Tackleworld Miami, Curt McCartney and Peter Fullarton.
We’ve teamed up with Shimano to give you some of their experts’ hot tips to take your fishing to the next level in the ‘West Aussie Ultimate Angler’ series.
Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan also features different WA fishing locations in his weekly segment, Scott’s Spots.
For anyone wanting to contribute to the report, photos reflecting Recfishwest’s responsible fish handling practices will be given preference.
If you know someone who would love to receive these reports and needs some help on the fishing front, forward this onto them! Join us here.
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Kununurra Catches (Curt McCartney)
As October comes to a end the past months fishing has been fantastic around Kununurra , those that brave the 38 degree days and chance of being smashed by a storm are being rewarded with big fish. Fishing in the freshwater areas around Kununurra has been fantastic in the last month with stories of multiple captures of meter plus fish in outings . Lake Kununurra has been on fire with plenty fish over the meter being caught out the front of the local caravan parks on sunrise and sunset . Trolling has been good and when schools located soft vibes work good as well . Plenty smaller fish around the 600 mark are appearing in the snags from past fingerling releases . Down over the diversion dam wall captures of meter plus fish in the Ord river are just as common , Ivanhoe crossing has been hot spot for big barramundi up to 130. The amount of meter plus fish pulled off this man-made crossing this year has been unbelievable with some locals catching up to 20 for the year! Down in the saltwater, the big barramundi are congregating on the creek mouths and ledges to start their breeding cycle for the year . Once located they can either be very willing to attack lures or the other side be completely shut down . Try find three or four schools and work them over during the day on different stages of the tide for success. Often once located I’ve found that these schools of big breeding barramundi to be mixed in with big mulloway, when these things attack your barra lure all hell tends to erupt.
Reef fishing has been productive in 30m to 40m of water where red emperor, saddletail seaperch and bluelined emperor have been found. Threadfin and bluenose salmon have been caught in reasonable numbers within Roebuck Bay. Bluebone and mulloway can also be targeted within the bay and other inshore areas. There are still Spanish and broadbar mackerel being caught on trolled bibbed minnows and rigged garfish off Entrance Point and Gantheaume Point, while mack and longtail tuna are being encountered offshore but not in any specific areas.
Barramundi have been caught on live baits, including mullet and bony herring, within the Fitzroy River as well as the local creeks. Threadfin salmon have also been picked up in these systems together with bluenose salmon and mangrove jack. Queenfish and small golden and giant trevally can be targeted at Gantheaume Point and the jetty. Barra have been active at the jetty, especially in the evenings.
Billfish enthusiasts have been encountering blue and striped marlin at The Canyons and near the FADs. Black marlin have been landed closer to the reef line together with sailfish of which the latter species are sometimes being found in waters near the upper areas of Exmouth Gulf. Deep droppers have been picking up ruby snapper, spotted groper and eight-bar cod in approximately 230m. John Di Giovanni caught a solid long-nosed emperor south of Tantabiddi this week. Spanish mackerel have been responding well to bibbed minnows and rigged garfish, however, sharks have been a problem.
Queenfish and small trevally, including brassy, golden and giant, have been common at the west coast accesses. There are spangled emperor and bluebone being caught at times near the lighthouse and Mildura Wreck. Oysters and VLF Bay are worth a try for big GTs, queenfish and giant herring. Yellowfin whiting and bream can be picked up along the town and lower gulf beaches. Mangrove jack and estuary cod have been caught at the jetty at first light and at night.
Scott’s Spots – The Rowley Shoals, fishing perfection
Only a few hundred people a year get to visit the Rowleys due to distance and weather, with the three coral atolls that comprise it – Clerke, Imperieuse and Mermaid – some 160 nautical miles offshore. These magnificent atolls rise almost out of nowhere from depths of hundreds of metres, and provide a stunning contrast to the endless deep blue water that surrounds them. Read more here!
Spanish mackerel seem to still be some weeks away from turning up in big numbers. Some of the boats that tried for mackerel this week ended up catching samson fish and small mack and longtail tuna. Yellowfin tuna will likely turn up about the same time as the mackerel when perhaps cobia and billfish will also show again. Rock lobster have been picked up in good numbers.
A 19kg mulloway was among several smaller fish landed at Wittecarra Creek this week. Mulloway were also caught at Chinamans and from the beaches north of Frustrations. Tailor have been appearing in good numbers at Wittecarra, Red Bluff, Chinamans and Sharkfin Rock in mornings while mostly choppers were picked up at the sand spit in the evening. Golden trevally in the 4kg to 6kg range and yellowtail kingfish were caught at Red Bluff. The jetties and pens are good areas to try for black bream and estuary cod. There are still good catches of yellowfin whiting being had along the sand spit.
Dinghy and kayak fishers have been doing well on squid through the inshore waters, while the tasty cephalopods have been caught in bigger numbers and sizes near the Abrolhos Islands. Apparently, some of the squid caught near the islands this week were up around the 2kg mark. Big schools of baitfish between the mainland and the islands suggest the summer migration of mackerel and tuna is not too far away. As of late, only small school mackerel and small mack tuna have been encountered offshore. Some nice catches of blue manna crabs have been picked up near the marina.
Tailor catches have continued to improve around town and the beaches to the north and south. An 83cm tailor was among the best of them caught on bait near Flat Rocks this week. A customer of Geraldton Sports caught a 72cm tailor on a popper south of Greenough a couple of weeks ago. There have been plenty of tailor in the 40cm to 50cm range at Southgates, Tarcoola, Drummonds Cove and Horrocks. Mulloway to about a metre have also been coming from similar areas together with the odd school shark. There are still some nice yellowfin and school whiting being caught at Tarcoola, Southgates and north of Drummonds.
Most of the larger boats have been taking some time off after the end of the demersal season. Clear water and low water through the middle of the day have made the fish and squid difficult to tempt inside the bay, best results have been at first and last light each day. Herring have been along the southern sand holes of the bay. Large snook are over the weed beds, though easy to spook at the sight of the boat. Deeper water north of the bay fished well for herring, skippy and sand whiting. Lobster potters and divers have been managing to get some good size crays out of the nearshore shallows.
Mornings have seen the best fishing, strong breezes have been bringing in fresh floating weed each afternoon. Tailor have not been putting on a strong run at sunset or rise, though fishers putting in a little time have been managing to accumulate fish throughout the day. Lure casters have regularly out-fished baits, mid- late morning when the sea breeze starts, seems to be when the tailor are most active. Sizes are varying widely with some spots producing fish 40-60cm range. Several small salmon have also taken lures. Small whaler sharks are being caught right along the coastline, most active at night. Jetty fishers have been catching the small salmon as well along with tarwhine, herring and tailor.
Dinghy and small boat fishers have been doing well on sand whiting, big squid and snook within the bay. Queen snapper continue to be caught in very good numbers near the islands and out wider. Those who ventured beyond the islands scored nannygai, breaksea cod and Samson fish.
The Taylor Street Jetty has been producing mixed catches of bread and butter species including herring, small skippy and squid, while Bandy Creek boat harbour has small King George whiting, herring and black bream on offer. Small schools of salmon have been appearing at Fourth Beach, which also has skippy, herring and flathead. A bigger salmon school was behind the reef at Eleven Mile last week, however so were quite a few bronze whaler sharks. Surf fishers scored some nice gummy sharks at Israelite Bay, whereas Thomas River has been good for mulloway. Alexander Bay has been producing salmon, skippy to a kilo and gummy sharks.
Reef fishers had to work hard for their catches of red, queen and pink snapper, breaksea cod and dhufish on the coral. Yellowtail kingfish and Samson fish were found near the islands and bombies. The few who made it out to the shelf picked up hapuka and bigger red snapper. Inshore fishers have been finding King George whiting and squid in areas where the water has been clearer. Herring are plentiful inshore and there are skippy of about half a kilo in some areas.
Surf fishers have continued to catch lots of salmon at Reef Beach and Fosters Beach. Skippy catches have started to drop with the only exception being Bluff Creek, which continues to produce fish between 500g and 1.5kg. There are herring and sand whiting among the surf beaches while the protected headlands and bays are still producing the occasional King George whiting. There are still plenty of small black bream and the odd mulloway being caught in the King and Kalgan rivers.
King George whiting have been caught on squid and prawn baits in 5m to 20m of water off Eagle Bay, Quindalup and Siesta Park. Squid are in shallower waters along the seagrass beds in similar areas. Schools of small southern bluefin tuna have been appearing off the west coast and within Geographe Bay.
A big school of salmon turned up at Smiths Beach last week. Herring are in very good numbers along both sides of the cape while tailor have mostly been coming from the exposed beaches on the west side. Small poppers and stick baits can be used to target yellowfin and school whiting along the sand flats near Dunsborough.
Mandurah and Surrounds
Mandurah and surrounds
As if almost on cue we have seen the flats fishing in the Peel and Harvey estuary systems gain some real momentum during the past seven days. Yellowfin whiting have started taking surface lures over the sand flats again and king George whiting are still in good numbers throughout the Dawesville Cut. There are still good numbers of herring and 30-50cm salmon around and they are becoming easier to target on lures as the water clarity improves. Crayfish are starting to slow down in the pots as we approach the whites run, maybe indicating that they are starting to moult for an early run this year, but it’s too soon to say for sure. Not a problem for divers, though, as they are still finding good numbers of crays free-diving or scuba. After residing up the Murray and Serpentine rivers over the winter, black bream have also begun to move into the marinas again and their numbers will continue to improve over the next few weeks.
Mandurah and surrounds fishing report courtesy of Ash Ramm – Tackle World Miami
Schools of small southern bluefin are often being found off the outer edge of Five Fathom Bank and wide of West End. Big Samson fish have been caught on baits and jigs north and west of Rottnest in about 100m of water. There are small yellowtail kingfish patrolling West End and the reefs southwest of Rottnest including Champion Rock and Stragglers. King George whiting continue to be caught in fair numbers along Parmelia Bank and off Cottesloe. Sand whiting are in about 20m of water between Fremantle and Swanbourne. Squid catches have increased off Fremantle and within Cockburn Sound following an improvement in water clarity.
Melbourne Cup Day has long been regarded as the unofficial start of the tailor run along the metropolitan beaches. Already some nice tailor catches are being regularly achieved, morning and night, at South Beach, South Mole, Cottesloe, Grant Street, Swanbourne Drain, City Beach and Floreat groynes and Brighton. Herring are sometimes being caught with the tailor, but perhaps the bread and butter species are more reliable at the northern and southern rock walls and jetties. The Fremantle rock walls are worth trying for King George whiting and squid. Tailor are a chance within the lower and middle reaches of the Swan River, while the deeper parts located in these areas may be holding mulloway. Flathead should become more active once water temperatures increase.
Only a few hundred people a year get to visit the Rowleys due to distance and weather, which is perhaps why the Rowley Shoals remains one of the iconic fishing destinations of Western Australia, writes fishing writer, editor and ace angler Scott Coghlan in his latest Scott’s Spots column, exclusively for Recfishwest. Continue reading “Scott’s Spots – the Rowley Shoals, a remote and pristine fishing paradise”
Divers, families, boaties and fishers are being urged rally around next month for a community-driven seeding project to restore Cockburn Sound’s seagrass – an important nursery ground for many fish species. Continue reading “One million seeds to rejuvenate Cockburn Sound’s seagrass snapper sanctuary”
WA’s fishing calendar is jam-packed with upcoming competitions, with fishers set to vie for glory at tournaments from Dampier in the north to Albany in the south.
As the State continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Recfishwest is delighted to see many fishers supporting fishing clubs and getting involved in competitions.
Fishing clubs and competitions are the centre-piece of many coastal communities, providing a social hub and an event for like-minded fishers to get together and celebrate the State’s quality fishing.
And, with the notable surge in WA fishing trips amid COVID-19, now is a great opportunity to head to a town and give a comp a crack.
Fishing for tournament glory
Following the success of the Broome Fishing Club’s latest Broome Billfish Classic earlier this month, the anticipation for what’s next in the fishing calendar is heating up significantly.
The exciting competition fishing action in WA’s north-west continues when the Port Hedland Game Fishing Club (PHGFC) holds its Blue Water Classic on 29 August and 30 August.
Competitors take note, briefing and registrations will take place at the Walkabout Hotel 28 August from 6pm.
Boats will then hit the water off Exmouth for the Australian Junior Billfish Tournament – held by the Exmouth Game Fishing Club – on 2 October and 4 October.
Exmouth’s billfish fishery is world-renowned, so we are already excited to hear about the sailfish and marlin action on the cards for the mad-keen young fishers.
EGFC’s event will coincide with the Nickol Bay Sportfishing Club’s Billfish Shootout, off Dampier, which is scheduled to start on 3 October.
Great Southern fishers are gearing up for the Southern Ocean Spectacular, held by the Albany Boat and Fishing Club, in early October.
The week-long event has tentatively been set for the first week of October, however, keep an eye out for the confirmed date.
The EGFC’s Sailfish Shootout – formerly known as the Billfish Bonanza – is locked in to take place off Exmouth from 6 November to 8 November.
It is truly heartening to see so many fishing tournaments in the pipeline – the regional fishing scene in WA appears to be in a healthy state despite the recent challenges it has faced.
Fishing clubs are the lifeblood of many regional fishing and competitions provided a chance for anglers to gather, enjoy great action and pool information at the end of a day’s fishing!
If you’re taking part in any of the upcoming competitions – good luck! – and don’t’ forget to tag @recfishwest and #recfishwest in your photos online so we can see your stellar fish.
Recfishwest has long-maintained that Cockburn Sound is an important and treasured fishery for many metropolitan fishers. Read the 20-year timeline below of our fight to protect the fishery on Perth’s doorstep.
Recfishwest welcomes today’s announcement by the Premier Mark McGowan and Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley of a multi-million-dollar package focused on fishing including three new artificial reefs, fish stocking programs and celebrating WA’s world-class fishing.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said today’s package would greatly improve fishing enjoyment, assist the recreational fishing sector get back on track with generating its $2.4 billion annual spend and see WA’s 750,000 fishers play a role in helping get our great State back on its feet.
“It’s great to see the Premier and the State Government recognise the importance of fishing and the key role it has in contributing to our economy, our lifestyle and the health and wellbeing of the one in three West Aussies who go fishing each year,” he said.
WATCH: Premier McGowan reveals recfishing package
“Artificial reefs installed along our coast over the past six years from Esperance to Exmouth have been brilliant for fishing.
“Underwater fishing playgrounds like the King Reef installed off Exmouth are bursting with marine life and create new fish habitat, increase fish productivity, are good for the environment, good for tourism, good for regional economies and, most importantly, provide more places to go fishing.
“To have three new reefs earmarked in this announcement over the next three years really is exciting news for fishers and the Albany community in particular will be buzzing with this news.”
Today’s announcement will also boost fish stocking programs over the next three years including the well-established and successful Lake Kununurra barramundi stocking program.
“This will see millions of fish released into WA waters and support existing fish stocking programs giving a huge boost to the popular barramundi stocking program in the Kimberley where the 850,000 fingerlings released into Lake Kununurra over the last seven years are now resulting in fish over a metre being caught on a regular basis,” Dr Rowland said.
Click here to view all the fish stocking programs we’ve done over the years!
“It will also allow us to develop exciting new innovative stocking programs releasing popular sportfish like yellowtail kingfish in metro waters.
“Well-managed fish stocking programs can play an important role in future-proofing our fish stocks by helping increase fish abundance, as well as creating great new fishing opportunities.
“We have great fishing here in WA and by delivering exciting fishing trails we can help fishers discover new adventures along the expansive 12,000km coastline in our own backyard.
“It’s great to see the Government getting behind fishing and we are already looking forward to hitting the ground running tomorrow and working with Government to turn these great initiatives into a reality and continuing to make fishing even better in WA for all West Aussies.”
One of Perth’s most iconic fishing spots is set to receive an almost $10 million makeover to replace its renowned, but decaying, jetty in a major victory for land-based metro anglers. Continue reading “Brand new $10 million fishing platform to replace Woodman Point’s Ammo Jetty!”